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Opening a New Role at Your Company? 5 Tips for Where You Should Begin!

Opening a new role means your organization is developing and growing across new areas  – congratulations! 

Maybe you’re noticing a gap that just developed…or it’s one already keeping some employees from getting other important work done. Either way, it’s essential to get the process of opening a new role right early in the process. 

Like company culture, the longer a new position heads in the wrong direction, the harder it is to get it on the right path. You don’t need a reminder of the pain and expense of an unsuccessful hire.

So, without further ado, here’s how to get a new position created, filled, and contributing to the company’s success without losing ground.

Related: How to Hire Developers for a Startup

Where to start when opening a new job role

Experienced hiring managers know what can happen when a company rushes into opening a new role. It’s a booby-trapped detour through the Fire Swamp of HR. Whether the rush is the result of not laying out what was needed beforehand or simply hiring the first (or second) warm body who lands an interview, there are consequences. These may set a team or the whole company back several steps, just when progress is most urgent.

First, of course, the work that needs doing may not get done — or it’s not done right. But the wrong hire also slows down everyone on the team, whether the problem is with the work or the person. 

Once the company has invested in a new hire, it may, understandably, take a distressingly long time to realize (and then admit) it’s time to restart the search. Meanwhile, productivity and morale are damaged. It’s a distraction no one needs.

1. Optimize the job description 

It’s great to find someone with an entrepreneurial spirit who will help define the parameters of the new role. However, don’t forget you’re still hiring to get a specific job done. The more vague your job description, the longer it will take your new hire to start accomplishing those goals.

So, don’t write the job description until you’ve asked some crucial questions to help define the role.

First, talk to the people who the position will immediately impact. What are they doing now that they need to move off their plate? What isn’t getting done? How would they prioritize those tasks? In other words, how would the new role be designed to make their jobs easier while fitting into the team as seamlessly as possible? How does this role differ from others within the organization? Make sure the team has buy-in regarding the challenges the new position solves.

One of the pitfalls of creating a new role is when teams have misinterpretations of the new role’s duties or responsibilities. It’s hard for a new employer to succeed in a created role when colleagues have sometimes contradictory ideas. Don’t make a new employee navigate that. It quickly erodes the employee experience. Instead, align stakeholders as early as possible – from job description to interviewing plan. Use our free template in this blog article.

It may also be helpful to check in with your network to see what folks in similar roles are doing in other organizations. In addition to asking about job descriptions and essential competencies, you might ask if they hit any stumbling blocks integrating the new role into the company. Someone else has already been down this bumpy road; take advantage of their experience.

2. Measure (and compensate for) success 

Once you’ve settled on what this new role will tackle and what your new hire will need to be successful, think about how you’ll measure success. What does success in the role look like after six months? A year? You should be able to identify what deliverables you’ll be looking for at appropriate intervals. Early on, you may even want to keep track of how well someone is getting to know the company and determine if there are skill gaps to address. 

Lastly, there’s the question of pay. Determining a compensation package to attract the right candidates without breaking the bank is nobody’s idea of a good time. But it still has to be done. Again, getting a benchmark is invaluable and thankfully, a lot easier to do these days with sites like Payscale and Glassdoor, and, of course, your network. 

Related: Use our Salary Calculator for Tech Roles

Keep in mind a compensation package isn’t just the salary. Many of the best, and certainly the savviest, candidates will be interested in what you’re offering beyond the salary. What do you have to offer when it comes to health insurance, family leave, and other perks?

3. Prepare bespoke candidate evaluation

Once you’ve written an irresistible job description and sorted out metrics, determine how you’ll interview and evaluate candidates. What are you looking for based on the job responsibilities? Does it make sense to do a take-home, paired coding, or presentation as part of their assessment? 

During the interview phase, it’s also important to maintain transparency about the new role with candidates. Hired’s Internal Recruiter Jules Grondin recommends explaining “why the role is important and why it was opened.” She also encourages recruiters to ask candidates:

  • How they picture themselves in the role
  • Whether they have ever been in a new position in a company before
  • If the opportunity to be in a brand new role is exciting to them 
  • Whether they would be a self-starter or a collaborator

4. Always be iterating 

Like so many business processes, iterating is invaluable in developing a successful interview process. You don’t even need to create (yet) another meeting to do it. 

After the first few candidates, do a quick check-in while you’re discussing the most recent interview. Are people with the right skills responding to the job description? Do you need to revise the interview process in some way? 

It’s never too late for an important tweak here and there. Each candidate debrief meeting isn’t just an opportunity to discuss the candidate in question, but to revisit and optimize the entire hiring process for the role.

5. Hire for problem-solving

Finally, if you’re hiring for a specific technical skill, like data science or AI, avoid candidates (or a job description) encouraging them to hammer their technology into just any issue at the organization. 

It might be especially tempting when you’re hiring for a whole new role. However, you generally don’t want your new hire to spend time trying to find areas to apply technology as opposed to using it to solve problems for the company. No technology is a magic bullet for every challenge a company faces.

Planning ahead when you’re opening a new role is like having your cake and eating it, too: each decision can be an informed one but that doesn’t stop you from iterating along the way.

Opening a new role is exciting! Hired will help you fill it with high-quality tech or sales talent.

Originally published December 2017. Revised by Hired Content Team July 2023.